Washing & Toileting, Dressing & Clothing
Due to your child’s muscle weakness, you’re likely at some stage to need supportive equipment to help them have a bath or shower and go to the toilet. If your child is being seen regularly, your occupational therapist (OT) will assess your child’s needs so that these tasks are made as easy and stress-free as possible. If your child isn’t being seen regularly, but you have become concerned about how they're managing these day-to-day activities, contact your GP or neuromuscular consultant and ask for a referral to an OT.
There are many manufacturers and a wide variety of equipment and new products coming onto the market all the time to suit different ages. These include:
- Using the bath: bath chairs, lifts, cushions, inserts and portable baths
- Showering: multi-function shower & commode chairs, mobile and wall – mounted shower cradles and trolleys, shower chairs and stools
- Using the toilet: potty chairs, toilet seats, cushions, frames and rails, urine deflectors, junior and travel urinals, wash and dry facilities. Community nurses and health visitors can also talk with you about ideas for managing potty or toilet training.
- Getting dressed: you may need a changing mat or table. Also, life might be a bit easier for both you and your child if their clothing were better designed and easier to get on and off (see below).
The Disabled Living Foundation’s information pages have examples of what equipment is available to help with personal care and may be helpful in any discussions with your OT / physio:
- www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk - choose the tab at the top: Health and personal care
Your OT should be able to advise you what would be best to meet your child’s needs. They should be able to provide most items of equipment and / or tell you how to get assistance to pay for them.
SMA UK may also be able to help with funding suggestions.
You can find related information in the Living With SMA section:
Funding For Equipment
The Disabled Living Foundation has advice on children’s clothing: www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk - choose the tab at the top: Health and personal care and then clothing
Families have also recommended these suppliers of ‘adaptive’ clothing that still offers style:
- Rackety’s – for children and adults: www.disabled-clothing.co.uk
- Willowbug – 'stylish and practical adaptive clothing for children and teens': www.willowbug.co.uk
Page last reviewed / updated: April 2021
Next review due: April 2022
Managing Days Out
Days out and travelling away from home can bring extra challenges.
Changing Places toilets provide a height adjustable changing bench with hoist and plenty of space. For more information and a map of where Changing Places can be found, see: www.changing-places.org
There’s a National Key Scheme for accessible toilets that can be found in shopping centres, cafes, department stores and in bus and train stations around the country. To unlock the toilets, you’ll need a RADAR key available to buy from: www.disabilityrightsuk.org/shop